The Curious Statistical Case of Greg Paulus
Disregarding all the other strange stats that surround Greg Paulus I want to focus on one thing and one thing only. That one thing is the total minutes played by the formerly *11th ranked prospect in the class of 2005. Greg Paulus started off his freshmen year by playing 1163 minutes. Then his sophomore year he went down to 1068 minutes. Then in his junior year he only played 943 minutes. Now in his senior year he has been stuck to the bench and has only played 553 minutes. That is right he has played progressively less total minutes every successive year. Do you think he ever thought would play more than twice as many minutes in his freshmen year than in his senior year?
*Ranked right after Tyler Hansbrough and right before Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush.
This is amazing to think that someone would play less minutes as they progressed through college because most players get better over time and therefore earn more minutes from the coach. Greg Paulus in some ways has regressed, but he also is in a bad situation where Coach K recruited guards (Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams) that are in some ways *better than him. Regardless of that I feel bad for him and hope that if Duke has tournament run that he can play a contributing part. I think the team could use a 4th scorer when teams lock down on Singler, Henderson and Scheyer and no one would confuse Elliot Williams for being a premier shooter or scorer yet. Paulus has it in him if he can just shoot as well he did sophomore year, pass as well as he did freshmen year, score as well as he did junior year and not turn the ball over as he has done his senior year. I am rooting for the statistical oddity that is Greg Paulus.
*Even though from the stats this year it is clear that Paulus is a better player than Elliot Williams. He is a better free throw and 3PT shooter. He averages twice as many assists per minute despite having fewer turnovers. Also, despite a reputation as being a below-average defender he averages more steals per minute than Williams. Williams is better at offensive rebounding, but I think that might be because Paulus likes to get back on defense after a Duke player shoots that ball. Also, I think that Williams is a better on ball defender, but unfortunately I don't have any stats to back that up. The point being is that isn't clear that Williams is an improvement over Paulus. Sure, Duke has won 8 out of 9 since Coach K put Williams in the starting lineup, but we all know that correlation doesn't imply causation.